A couple years ago a comic who’s now a good buddy of mine had a misunderstanding about something I wrote/said. We really didn’t know each other, but after a ten minute talk we were 100% okay with each other. Weeks before our chat while he was mad at me, he wrote an angry email to his hero, Marc Maron, about me who tweeted “Who is @RobDurhamComedy to tell comics how to do comedy?” to over 100,000 followers. I was finishing up a school day and had no idea that it had happened until a few hours later. Within moments I had a tweet ready to reply but then thought about it. I had 65 followers, he had 100K+ and people I knew were already piling on. I called some more experienced friends in the business and they advised that I handle it directly with Marc instead of in front of thousands of his disciples. So I did. (They also explained to me that Maron gets mad at things like sandwiches that are the wrong kind of BBQ.) Remember that I had no idea at this time why Marc Maron, who is ALWAYS arguing with people on twitter, picked me out. I figured, “Wow, he got my book somehow!” Nope, it was just a random letter. A buddy of his told me he said, “I try to defend all these nutjobs who write because they’re fans.” The good news is that day this blog had a record high of 854 hits and over 3,000 that week. I sold quite a few books in the next week and it gave me something to talk about on podcasts (Otherwise I’m very dull). The irony was that someone like Marc who is always trolled, ending up kinda trolling me? (That’s like, an honor, right?)
When you’re a comic with a social media presence and a webpage you’re going to get that. I used to have to remove obnoxious comments on my webpage 3 times a day the first month it was up (I finally figured out that screening option). The thing was, I knew who was doing it (eventually). He was a fellow Columbus comic who I worked with a lot and was actually a buddy of mine. I messed with him a little and we both wasted each other’s time. We’ve grown out of those things as we’re both adults and realize we have better ways to use our time (earning money by working). Incidents seem to happen every few years.
Still, there are people out there who still continue trolling. Usually they’re cowards so they’ll create a fake Facebook/Youtube/Twitter profile and post something about you like the bitch internet heckler they are (usually comics are against snipe heckling, aren’t we?). They don’t know you, but are probably jealous of your success (How dare he encourage reading and educating other comics!). They’ll spend hours designing fake profiles, adding fake friends, and photoshopping instead of doing something productive like writing material, booking gigs, and making money. The best thing to do is to just ignore them or talk to them directly if they have the balls to at least own it. In the previous situation, I ended up sending Maron a letter along with a book. I explained that my book was inspired by the fact that I was sick of seeing new comics make the same mistakes week after week at open mic night. I was a high school teacher who didn’t work the road as much (that’s explained in my book) and didn’t understand his out-of-the-blue animosity. He never wrote back and that was that. I ignored the tweets that followed from others who thought that it would hurt my feelings 140 characters at a time. I didn’t respond to the disrespectful and somewhat ridiculous article that the RFT wrote asking me to reply and all of the comments that followed, (oddly enough, written by the same guy who wrote a nice article about it just weeks before).
The problem is that comedy doesn’t keep some people busy enough. They get bored. They get jealous (we’ve all been jealous of someone in this business…I’m very guilty of that).
I remember the first time some classmates were jealous of my success when I was little. It was 3rd grade math. The people who still feel that way and act out on it are the intellectual equals of those 9-year-olds. Ignore them and feel flattered that your success has bothered someone so much that they waste hours of their life trying to upset you.
There’s a reason they troll from a hidden identity 99% of the time. They know you could cut down their pathetic
career life very easily. Don’t waste your time. Go write some new jokes (or a book–those seem to sell). How about a new t-shirt design? Maybe a day job so you can afford to have a comedy career. The list goes on…
And yes, I fully expect obnoxious comments on this entry… (please disappoint me)